The amount of sleep you need (and the amount you actually get) ebbs and flows as you age.
Between infancy and old age, your sleep needs fluctuate. While there’s no one-size-fits-all rule when it comes to sleep, you should aim to get the recommended amount for your age. Are you in the right ballpark? Use this guide to see how much you need.
Newborns (ages 0-3 months) need more sleep more than any other age group, typically 14 to 17 hours of sleep per 24-hour day. It’s likely that this sleep will be broken down into several three- or four-hour periods throughout the day and night.
Infants (those up to age 11 months, generally sleep between 12 and 15 hours per 24-hour period, including several naps.
At age one, children start needing less shut-eye, usually 11 to 14 hours per day. By age four, they require about 10 to 13 hours per 24-hour day—some of which they will acquire through naps. Sticking to a regular nap and bedtime schedule (even when away from home) can help little ones get the rest that they need.
School-Aged Kids (Ages six to 13)
School-aged children require slightly less sleep than their younger siblings. Usually, kids ages six through 13 should get about 9 to 11 hours of sleep a night. Since extracurricular activities and homework pick up during these years, it’s important to be consistent with bedtime.
When kids reach high school, their circadian rhythms change, making it harder for them to fall asleep at an early hour. Throw in an early school start time—not to mention even more homework and activities, a blossoming social and dating life, and often an addiction to stimulating technology—and the result is that many teens are sleep deprived. Most score only about seven and a half hours, which is one to two hours less than the recommended amount of 8 to 10 hours. But the good news is, as a parent, there are various ways that you can help your teen get more zzz’s.
Seven to nine hours of shut-eye is recommended during adulthood. A recent look from the National Sleep Foundation found that both younger and older adults need between 7 and 9 hours, but that minimum and maximum variations do occur.
Unfortunately, this is also the age range in which sleep problems begin. You may feel sleepier earlier in the day, start waking up earlier, or have less deep, restorative sleep. Exercising regularly and avoiding caffeine, TV, and alcohol before bed can help you get more zzz’s.
Adults Age 65+
As you age, you still need seven to eight hours of sleep, but you may end up getting fewer hours due to sleep issues such as menopause or insomnia. Certain medications can also affect how much shut-eye you get. While these bedtime disturbances are common, they can negatively affect your health, so make sure you’re practicing proper sleep hygiene. If you still experience problems sleeping, talk to your doctor.